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04.11.2008 Technology

Ghana To Go Digital Television


Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in partnership with Next Generation Broadcasting (NGB), a Swedish-based broadcasting network, yesterday launched a digital television pilot project in Accra.

The project, to be undertaken till January next year is to switch over from analogue transmission to digital transmission as directed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2006.

In 2006, the ITU directed that all countries in Europe, Africa and Middle East to migrate to digital broadcasting by 2015.

The Minister for Communication, Dr Benjamin Aggrey Ntim, in a speech read for him, said that innovation is the main driving force towards the rapid deployment of Information Communication Technology to support socio-economic development of nations and no country can afford to be left behind.

He said the launch was to prompt everybody to be alive with the practical challenges associated with the migration to digital television broadcasting and commended the organisers for seeing the need to bring the discussion on the digital migration to life.

Dr Aggrey Ntim also stressed the need to define the country's migration plan bearing in mind the cost implications and assured consumers that government will play a participatory role to avoid the transfer of investment cost to the consuming public.

He also tasked National Communication Authority to take advantage of all sub-regional programmes to put the agenda of digital broadcasting on the table to enable the country to have a sub-regional approach to the right guard intervals for technical parameters to prevent undue cross-border interference.

Mr Ampem Darko, Director General of GBC, said the digital pilot is a co-operation between GBC, NGB and Ghana's four major channels - Ghana Television, TV3, TV Africa and Net 2 Television.

He said Europe, United States of America and Asia are already on board, adding that, the rate at which Ghana is moving will enable her to achieve the cross over by 2015 deadline.

He mentioned funding, creation of adequate awareness, among others, as some of the issues to be considered critically.

Mr Oscar Nchor, Director in-charge of Technical production, GBC, said to receive the digital signal on current television sets, households will need Set Top Box (decoder) that converts the digital signal into analogue signal.

He said already Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Nigeria have embarked on digital switch over transition.

To start with, about 300,000 Set Top Boxes will be distributed among the stakeholders.